North Shields head south in search of FA Vase semi-final spot

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North Shields are enjoying their best run in an FA competition since 1984.

At that time it was the FA Trophy that Jim Pearson’s Shieldsmen progressed in, the journey featuring a three match epic with Morecambe before Shields eventually bowed out at Barnet.

On Saturday the prize is a place in the semi-final of the FA Vase as the Robins head south to take on Erith and Belvedere who play at the Welling FC ground.

The Shields lads have already come through seven rounds to reach this stage.

It all started at Northallerton when a lone Dan Smart strike edged the side through then Gareth Bainbridge bagged all four in a 4-2 verdict at Stokesley.

Northern Counties East league leaders AFC Emley then visited the Daren Persson Stadium and left after a 4-2 defeat thanks to a Bainbridge brace and James Luccock and Dean Holmes strikes.

A Bainbridge hat-trick ensured a 3-0 success at Sunderland RCA, the prolific striker then netting twice at Seaham Red Star with Ben Richardson also chipping in with a double as Graham Fenton’s men saw off the second division leaders 4-2.

Two more home victories, both 4-1, followed against Consett and Phoenix Sports.

Hosts Erith and Belvedere are currently second in the Southern Counties East League.